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Torridd

Is Eppler Stoneman 2.0?

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I liked Stoneman but I was exasperated by his hoarding of prospects and few trade/free agent moves. I'm starting to feel like that again but I don't know if it's just my antsiness of the Angels being out of the playoffs for so long.

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4 minutes ago, Torridd said:

I liked Stoneman but I was exasperated by his hoarding of prospects and few trade/free agent moves. I'm starting to feel like that again but I don't know if it's just my antsiness of the Angels being out of the playoffs for so long.

We aren't remotely close to where we were in 2005 prospect wise...  There isn't 1/5th the depth, we don't have the volume of MLB ready talent.... It's just not the same.

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He literally traded some of his best prospects his first few weeks in the position. He doesn't tend to give up prospects (Dipoto) for non game changing players. I think that if he felt one of those players was available (preferable with control) he would do it.

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One the one hand you have hoarders, on the other you have DiPoto, neither works.  I believe you have to have a balance making smart FA signings and trades along with being smart about drafts and prospects.   I think Epp has done a good job on that for the most part.

My frustration with him is that he doesnt seems to lack boldness.  I feel like maybe he lacks a confidence or courage to  step outside the easy and take risks, it has to be obvious or low risk versus reward.    There is no sense or urgency about him, a bit too patient.   Were wasting good years of good players when i dont feel we should be.  

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I think Eppler has been trying to balance rebuilding the farm system and improving the ML roster without gutting one at the expense of the other.  The Angels farm system was dead last when he took the helm and it's obviously a lot better now.  The criticism of Stoneman was that we had a top 5 or even the top farm system from 2003-2007 and didn't use it to bring in proven talent.  After Kendrick, Morales, Saunders, Napoli and Weaver were brought up they could have strengthened the ML roster by trading someone like Wood but it didn't happen.  The Angels won the division in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 while maybe there was a trade to be made that could have made them even better giving them a shot to win it all.  When you look at teams like Boston and Houston you see that a balance of drafting, FA's and trading is a great way to build a team.  That doesn't mean you want your team to have a lot of high picks for multiple years like the Astros but when your team looks like they have a shot you have to take that chance and make the trade or sign that vet to try and get over the hump.  Obviously nothing is a given though and it's easy to say all these years later we should have moved Wood or any prospect that was possibly overvalued.

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I am guessing they share one thing is common and that is you build from within.  I think Eppler is way more aggressive though.  

Eppler inherited a team coming off of an 85 win season that won 98 games the year before that.  He was tasked with filling holes at 2b, 3b, LF and C with zero budget and almost nothing in the farm system.  So he went and got Simmons and Escobar but now he had no currency.  

He had a staff of Richards, Wilson, Shoe, Santiago, Heaney  and Weaver returning with a promising Trop as depth and Skaggs coming off TJSurg.  

Richards, Trop, Wilson, Skaggs, and Heaney ended up throwing about 160 innings in about 30 starts.  Which means that 5 of the 8 starters they had going into the season equaled about 1 person.  

Health permitting, the 2016 team could have been pretty good.  If there was a time where Arte should have expanded payroll at least on a couple of 1-2 year deals to shore up LF, 3b, and C, it would have been that year.  I think a lot of us saw the writing on the wall that it was our last best chance.  Lots of pining for Heyward, Upton, Cueto, Cespedes, Alex Gordon, Ben Zobrist, Daniel Murphy. Even Howie was available or guys like Asdrubel Cabrera, Denard Span, Colby Rasmus, Matt Wieters, Ian Desmond, etc were available.  Many of who had a draft pick attached to them.  

It retrospect, it was a smart move, but at the time it was actually pretty frustrating.  But based on those actions, I think it was pretty clear which direction we were going.  This was confirmed by the pre 2017 off season where we got Espinosa, Revere, Maybin, Chavez, and a bunch of other guys off the scrap heap including almost the entire pen.  

Yet Eppler made some moves at the Waiver deadline when we had a shot but they weren't anything that could be construed as blockbuster.  

Arte finally got some money freed up and he spent it right away on Upton and we somehow wooed Ohtani.  Yet another move with minimal effect on the farm in Kinsler.  But since the Simmons trade, that was the mo for his trades and he always stayed in budget.  

We are in similar shape at the major league level as we were after 2017.  We have holes.  We have some money.  But now we've got some developing contributions from the farm system.  

So we'll spend on a decent pitcher or two.  He'll probably make a minor trade in there somewhere.  He'll add a couple ancillary pieces.  

When Eppler is done rebuilding, we'll find out whether he can pull the trigger on those final couple of pieces that on a big trade will bring.  My guess is that he will, but unlike the rest of us, he patient enough to wait for the right time.  

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1 hour ago, IEAngelsfan said:

No he's not.  I don't think Stoneman would've traded for Simmons.

He was GM for 10 years and never traded a prospect like Newcomb....nor traded for anybody as good as Simmons...Free Agents and the farm were his template.....

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14 minutes ago, DMVol said:

He was GM for 10 years and never traded a prospect like Newcomb....nor traded for anybody as good as Simmons...Free Agents and the farm were his template.....

the first trade he ever made was Kennedy and Bottenfield for Edmonds.  Maybe it's good he didn't trade much

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2 hours ago, Torridd said:

I liked Stoneman but I was exasperated by his hoarding of prospects and few trade/free agent moves. I'm starting to feel like that again but I don't know if it's just my antsiness of the Angels being out of the playoffs for so long.

Would Stoneman have traded Newcomb for Simmons?

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Stoneman had a deep, talented roster that was a World Series contender every year, a vast collection of prospects and an owner with deep pockets wanting to win.

Pretty much the best possible position to be in.

Arte brought in guys like Vlad, Colon and Escobar, and the team was so talented they didn't need to make many moves to be in the conversation for best team in baseball every year. And those prospects, there was no reason to trade away, so he didn't hoard as much as he just held onto them. Stoneman wasn't Dipoto, he didn't make moves just to make a freakin' move. He was happy sitting tight. He didn't trust the free agent process and with good reason. 

Again, Bill Stoneman had the best possible situation to be in for a GM. All he had to do was not screw it up, and that's exactly what he did, he didn't take risks because he didn't need to screw it up.

But Eppler inherited a much more difficult situation.

Eppler inherited a non-contender with incredibly bloated payroll, no financial wiggle room, no farm system to speak of and an owner that just wanted to get out from under the contracts he gave out from when he used to be willing to spend. 

Now Eppler has a top heavy team (Trout, Simmons, Ohtani) with no depth, some wiggle room but definitely still limited in what he can and can't spend, and a vast collection of prospects that once they develop, could eventually rival what Stoneman had.

It'll be a few years, but eventually Eppler will be in a similar situation as Stoneman. I'm thinking around 2022, when the A's have faded back into oblivion, and the Astros have reached the end of their run atop the division, the Angels will be where they were in the early part of the century. The MLB team with have a huge amount of talent with Trout, Simmons, Ohtani, Adell, Marsh, Jones, Thaiss, Adams, Jackson, Maitan, Canning, Hernandez, Rodriguez, Soriano...

All those young players will set them up for a nice run atop the division and will offset the costs of Trout, Ohtani and Simmons after their extensions, and they'll also make it so that the Angels won't need to make many trades to fill holes on the roster, which allows them to stockpile their prospects. 

2020-2030 will be another golden ages of Angels baseball that matches 2002-2009.

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I would hope so.  Stoneman was GM from the 2000 season to the end of the 2007 season.  1 WS title, 3 division titles and 1 wild card berth.  Not a bad run during 8 seasons.  Plus the two seasons after he left, the Angels won the division again.

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3 hours ago, Dochalo said:

the first trade he ever made was Kennedy and Bottenfield for Edmonds.  Maybe it's good he didn't trade much

I think that trade, plus trading Randy Johnson (as a prospect in Montreal) for Mark Langston, spooked him badly....he never made a big trade after Edmonds....Guillen to the Nats was about it....

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1 hour ago, Second Base said:

Stoneman had a deep, talented roster that was a World Series contender every year, a vast collection of prospects and an owner with deep pockets wanting to win.

Pretty much the best possible position to be in.

Arte brought in guys like Vlad, Colon and Escobar, and the team was so talented they didn't need to make many moves to be in the conversation for best team in baseball every year. And those prospects, there was no reason to trade away, so he didn't hoard as much as he just held onto them. Stoneman wasn't Dipoto, he didn't make moves just to make a freakin' move. He was happy sitting tight. He didn't trust the free agent process and with good reason. 

Again, Bill Stoneman had the best possible situation to be in for a GM. All he had to do was not screw it up, and that's exactly what he did, he didn't take risks because he didn't need to screw it up.

But Eppler inherited a much more difficult situation.

Eppler inherited a non-contender with incredibly bloated payroll, no financial wiggle room, no farm system to speak of and an owner that just wanted to get out from under the contracts he gave out from when he used to be willing to spend. 

Bill Stoneman inherited a terrible farm, a fractured clubhouse, a team president that was a complete douchebag, and an ownership group looking to get rid of the team...  Like Eppler he was limited financially... Disney had been burned by Mo Vaughn, and some awful starting pitching FA mistakes, (Belcher, Hill)...  The initial thoughts on Stoneman were that Disney brought him in because they were going to slash the payroll...and sell off players as the Expos had done.  He was lucky in the sense that he had Salmon, Anderson, and Erstad, and he had the benefit of being able to pay first round money for guys later in the draft and take risks on draft and follow types, but the situation he took over wasn't pretty.   His greatest move early on was telling Tony Tavares to go pound sand and refusing to gut the roster as he had been instructed to do...

I think Eppler took over a worse situation for sure, but that 99 team Stoneman took over had all kinds of baggage attached to it.  

Edited by Inside Pitch

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1 hour ago, Inside Pitch said:

Bill Stoneman inherited a terrible farm, a fractured clubhouse, a team president that was a complete douchebag, and an ownership group looking to get rid of the team...  Like Eppler he was limited financially... Disney had been burned by Mo Vaughn, and some awful starting pitching FA mistakes, (Belcher, Hill)...  The initial thoughts on Stoneman were that Disney brought him in because they were going to slash the payroll...and sell off players as the Expos had done.  He was lucky in the sense that he had Salmon, Anderson, and Erstad, and he had the benefit of being able to pay first round money for guys later in the draft and take risks on draft and follow types, but the situation he took over wasn't pretty.   His greatest move early on was telling Tony Tavares to go pound sand and refusing to gut the roster as he had been instructed to do...

I think Eppler took over a worse situation for sure, but that 99 team Stoneman took over had all kinds of baggage attached to it.  

I was very careful not to talk about the team that Stoneman inherited as much as the team that he had. I was more focused on 2001-2008.

I strongly feel that Bill Stoneman was predominantly responsible for the best decade in Angels history. He put himself in that position, and was fortunate to have Arte be as eager as he was to win. 

Eppler, I believe will recreate that in 2020-2030, because top to bottom, this is the best the Angels have looked in a decade. Even in 2014, we had a ton go our way during that 98 win season. The minor league system was still pretty bad, the payroll was maxed out and philosophically we had a terrible GM running the team.

Hindsight shows us it wasn't sustainable. It was a good roster, but they had no room for error because of payroll and the farm. So when "error" happened, they were screwed. That doesn't look like the case with the Eppler built roster, or the future roster. But again, I think much of it is dependent upon Mike Trout staying here.

Granted, the Angels haven't won under Eppler yet, but they will very soon and for a very long time, I feel. 

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13 hours ago, Second Base said:

I was very careful not to talk about the team that Stoneman inherited as much as the team that he had. I was more focused on 2001-2008.

Understood, but saying he had the best possible situation and needed only to not mess it up understates the fantastic work he put in to create that situation -- it was 100% his doing.   

I agree with you 100% that Stoneman was responsible for the Angels golden era of baseball, but it was a massive undertaking that involved a complete overhaul of the minor league scouting department, a massive investment in Latin America (reopening two academies), and the hiring of a manager who would take what he gave him and make it all work.  And again, he stepped into a situation where the standing order was to "blow the team up".   I know you didn't make mention of it but I think the single most underrated thing Stoneman did was to stand his ground in the face of some pretty severe scrutiny... 

Stoneman was the ideal -- Eppler was handed an even more difficult task and in some ways bested Stoneman -- albeit he's not had the same level of success (yet).

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12 minutes ago, Blarg said:

No, he's not taking calls and the other GMs know not to bother, is what he said. The Angels are committed to keeping Mike Trout.

Now can you all just please shut your yaps about trading him.

That interview where he basically says just that was great.  Flat out told MLB Network, "Im not getting those calls because teams know whats up".   BIlly Eppler has come a long long way in the interview game.

 

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I imagine Mike Trout's that one guy in your fantasy football league who drafts all players from his favorite team and it doesn't work a single time for nine years, then in year ten he comes in and destroys everyone.  Billy would be that guy that's constantly picking up 3rd strong running backs off the waiver wire, and Jerry Dipoto is the guy that sends your team 14 trader proposals a day, and they're all some iteration of you sending him Drew Brees for his goal line RB. 

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